[ilds] Durrell's letter to British Governor of Cyprus

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 25 09:49:16 PDT 2015


Panaiotis,

Thanks for the letter.  I was unaware of it.  The last paragraph is interesting, especially its guarded tone about working for the British government on Cyprus.  He indicates that his Greek “personal contacts” will disapprove of such an appointment.  George Seferis?  What or whose “psychological obstacles?”  But I guess this is the subject of your talk at the conference on Crete.

Bruce






> On Oct 25, 2015, at 5:13 AM, Panaiotis Gerontopoulos <pan.gero at hotmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Dear All   
> 
> 
> I do not know if the participants of this discussion about the Retirement Age during the British Raj , Said's Orientalism, and Durrell's  Bitter Lemons are aware of  the following hand-written application letter submitted by Durrell to the Governor of Cyprus in February 1953 or 1954. It was discovered  in the State Archive of Nicosia by Barbara Papastavrou Koroniotaki, and first published in New Griffon (Gennadius Library, Athens) in 2003. Since then, it has been reproduced several times and should be taken into consideration in any discussion regarding Durrell's venture in Cyprus. Based on information collected from various sources I intent to present to the ILDS meeting in Rethimnon a paper on this highly controversial subject, and if accepted I hope to see you all there.
> 
> P. Th. Gerontopoulos
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Bellapaix Abbey
> Cyprus
> Feb.17 1953                                                                                                                                             H.E.Acting Governor
>                                                                                                                                                                     Island of Cyprus
>                                                                                                                                                                     The Levant
>                                             
>                                                                  Your Excellency
> 
>    Thank you for the great kindness with which you received me an for your permission to reinforce my application for the post under discussion by a personal  statement in the form of a letter. The chief points which may have some bearing on my position  as follows:
> 
> 1) I have been closely in touch with Greeks  since 1934 when I first went to live in the island of Corfu.
> 2) In the course of my F.O.  Service  I have had to prepare suitable material for the Greek press both in the Dodecanese Islands and in Alexandria. I helped in editing and orienting material for broadcasting from ESB to Greece [G. Haniotis was the chief radio feature editor at the time].
> 3) My name is well-known in Athenian and Cypriot literary circles and the Greeks of Cyprus have taken me very much to their bosoms. I have been the subject of admiring criticism in "Cyprus Letters" and the School  at which I teach has put an exhibition of my books about Greece.
> 4) In a brief Supplementary to my application I have noted  a few publications which have some bearing on Greece, the landscape, folklore etc and which might enable me to be credited with the special knowledge that comes from long residence in a country.
> 
>     I do not know whether the wide circle of personal contacts I have made here would survive a public appointment such you have outlined; nor do I know whether I could secure the whole-hearted  cooperation of those who now consider me their friend. But the nomination of a well-known of a well-known Philhellene  to a post of this sort would place the Ethnarchy Council in a great dilemma since it is the Council itself to which I owe my present post. If I could clear away a few of psychological obstacles I might achieve a depth of penetration which would justify the existence of such a costly establishment as the CBS:and which might help to lull, though not to extirpate, Enotist feeling.
> 
>                                                                                                                                      I remain, Sir
>                                                                                                                                      Your Obedient Servant
>                                                                                                                                       Lawrence Durrell
> 

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